March, the month when SLU goes looking for its future

Last changed: 22 March 2023

Our scientifically based teaching needs the breadth of the faculty’s research and environmental assessment from the day a new student sets foot at the faculty meeting you, and me. This is why I want to highlight the need for us professors and senior lecturers to really take to heart that professor is the highest teaching position, and senior lecturer the second highest. The Higher Education Act is clear on this point. As am I, as dean. If I visit other leading universities in the world, I see that first-year students straight away meet the most renowned names, or those working on the most topical issues in society. We, on the other hand, tend to tuck them away until students are ready to start their degree projects. But what if, by then, our top students have already left us for a more exciting university? Those of us who hold higher teaching positions need to have a think about how we handle our teaching duties.

Hope and optimism

March is a month of hope and optimism for the future, for future students and our researchers. The future of research has a lot to do with freely choosing our methods and interpreting our findings. In March, this becomes particularly evident for SLU researchers. Intense thinking and writing are in progress. What problems need solving for a better, more sustainable world? Research councils and other funding bodies have launched their calls and are waiting for our first-rate solutions. As researchers, we have an idea of what we believe Sweden, and the world, need to learn more about and to make this happen, we spend spring applying for grants, in competition with others.

An open society

Thoughts and arguments are sharpened, all to safeguard the independence of research. National and international networks are active and cooperation is intense. SLU researchers from different sites meet, in person or online. Independent research is a particularly important aspect of an open society, not least for our students. Independent research is the basis for our scientifically based teaching. We can hold our own when it comes to competing for grants, and this means we can offer teaching at undergraduate and Master’s levels with credibility. We often have the best solutions for producing new knowledge for the benefit of everyone. The fact that our research findings have an international playing field further strengthens our credibility, we’re ranked highly both as a university and within forestry science and ecology.

Making a difference

The students who apply to study at SLU, and who will be welcomed at the faculty this autumn, bring with them a lot of faith, hope and expectations for the future. We will strengthen their belief that what they learn at SLU will make a difference. We will strengthen their hope for a better world, where the sustainable management of natural resources is based on science. We will make sure that they leave SLU feeling positive about the future, and those who stay on to become colleagues will be well looked after. We’re all a part of SLU, taking the next step toward a sustainable future.

Göran Ericsson, dean, Faculty of Forest Sciences

Ecology #6 worldwide:

Agricultural Sciences #10